Effect of Obesity on Bone Healing After Foot and Ankle Long Bone Fractures

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Abstract

As obesity has become more common, fractures in the obese population have become more frequent. Concern exists regarding alterations in bone health and healing in obese patients. A matched case-control study was performed at 1 institution to evaluate whether an association exists between nonunion and a high body mass index in metatarsal and ankle fractures. A total of 48 patients with nonunion were identified, and control patients matched 2 to 1 (n = 96) were selected. The control patients were matched for age, sex, and fracture type. No association was identified between nonunion and the continuous body mass index (p = .23) or morbid obesity, with a body mass index of ≥40 kg/m2 (p = .51). However, the results from both univariate and multivariate analysis suggested that patients with a current alcohol problem or a history of an alcohol problem might have a greater risk of nonunion. The odds ratio of a patient with a history of alcohol use experiencing nonunion was 2.7 (95% confidence interval 1.2 to 6.2). Further studies are warranted to confirm these findings.

Level of Clinical Evidence: 3

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